Google is the most popular Internet search provider worldwide. The name itself has even become a verb: We don’t look online anymore, we Google everything. Moreover, we use plenty of Google products not even realizing how connected they are. Gmail, YouTube, Translator, Google Drive, Photos (the former Picassa), Play, as well as Google+. The integration of Google products has became stronger. Now we access our email, YouTube videos, images, documents, and social networks such as Google+ and YouTube using one log in and credentials. Therefore it is extremely important to ensure that all of accounts are set up correctly. Following our previous articles on Security on Social Media, on Facebook privacy, Graph search or your reputation online, let’s take a closer look at Google products with a special focus on privacy of your social account.
Security and privacy for your Google accounts
Google+ is a very specific social network, very often underestimated by the users. Most Google+ owners don’t even realize that they have an account on the social channel! You might not use it actively, but it is important to have your data and profile under control. So let’s start with the basics.
In the top right corner you can start editing your profile settings.
Go to the privacy section. One of the most important features here is a 2-Step Verification.
avast! Anti-Theft is a separate program included in the avast! Free Mobile Security app. You can install it at the same time as avast! Mobile Security, or later, during a separate installation. Its unique capabilities help you recover your phone by controlling it remotely with SMS commands or via the Internet by logging in to your AVAST account. The app can also notify you that your SIM card was removed, in case the device was stolen. All that will help you to control and locate your lost or stolen smartphone. Since its release, we have received many messages from all around the world, proving that avast! Anti-Theft has helped many users find their missing devices. A dramatic story with happy end came to us from the Humayuns brothers. They were attacked at a Pakistani market. Their smartphone was stolen during the attack. Luckily they were able to catch the thief using avast! Anti-Theft. Stories from the open road have also come our way from motorbike AVAST fan DuckyBoy and truck driver Steven B., who used AVAST to track their missing smartphones lost on the roads of USA. We even received a detective-like story from sisters Katharina and Nicole. Nicole’s phone was stolen during the trip to Vietnam, AVAST notified her sister Katharina that her SIM card had been changed and provided her with the phone’s new number. Using this information the girls successfully tracked down the stolen device (with a little help from Vietnamese authorities). Last but not least avast! Anti-theft managed to locate a phone that was lost for a year and a half, it traveled a great distance within Africa before it was found!
However, we have also spotted questions from users who were surprised by the “extra charges for the SMS notifications”. Some thought the charges came from AVAST. Let’s clarify this functionality and explain, why mobile operators can charge you for SMS notifications sent from the avast! Anti-theft app.
Why is it happening and how to prevent unexpected costs?
Even the most careful planning sometimes cannot mitigate human error. A week ago, a photograph of the World Cup Security Center showing the WiFi password on a whiteboard in the background was published on the internet and immediately retweeted numerous times.
— Augusto Barros (@apbarros) June 23, 2014
Last February, during the Super Bowl XLVIII pre-game show, the Super Bowl security headquarters was shown on a television broadcast along with the stadium’s internal WiFi login credentials.
These so-called “epic fails” are highly publicized examples of regrettable mistakes that every human on the planet is familiar with – because we all make them. Maybe not at that scale; but I dare say, that no one at FIFA or the NFL intentionally set out to expose themselves or their organization to danger.
It could happen to you
So let’s stop giggling at these public slip ups and talk about our collective failure at securing our own passwords and other data. Read more…
Last week, Google upgraded the Android app section of its store and introduced a new way for users to manage permissions. Google claims it will be easier for users to understand and that users will pay more attention to app permissions. The new interface has a cleaner look and the common user can now install apps more quickly. But does this simplicity come with a price?
Android controls the security and the amount of access every app is granted by using “permissions”. Each action has to ask the operating system for permission to take a new action. In older versions, when an app update asked for new actions or requested additional permissions, Google Play would notify the user prompting them to explicitly accept or deny the new action. Even if the user had automatic updates set, in the cases of new permissions being asked, the user would need to manually perform the update. Even if the user wasn’t exactly sure what they were giving permission for, at least the user was aware and could make the decision themselves. Security was preserved.
Everything is different now
Everything changed last week.
Individual permissions, which could range from important to trivial, are now joined into 13 groups, including a catch-all called “Other”. Now the user has to accept a “new group” change. This means that if you have already allowed certain permissions within a group, then any other permission within that group will automatically be allowed. For example, an app that could access your calendar can now also read your contacts. If you set a meeting and have invited people by email, the app will be able to use the calendar to send emails to them, even without your consent! Read more…
Security and privacy on Social Media is a big topic at AVAST. While our antivirus products protect your various devices from malware infection spread on social channels, your privacy is still exposed to the public.
It’s been a while, since we acquired Secure. me and it’s a superb product. Our team worked hard to integrate the privacy solution into our security portfolio. Now we are proud to introduce the result: Beta version of the avast! Facebook Security.
We are very excited to hear your feedback on the product. Experienced users are most welcome to participate in the Beta Testing. We await your feedback on the product features, user interface, bug reporting, your general experience, as well as your suggestions for the final name of the product. Moreover avast! Facebook Security is a part of the new avast! Account look and your feedback on it is more than appreciated.
To make your life easier, we will guide you through all the steps, starting from:
How to participate in beta testing?
1. Log in our new version of the AVAST account.
When we launched the AVAST Free for Education program last November, some journalists were asking us “what’s the catch”… They didn’t quite understand why we would do such a thing. I guess for them “advertising” means TV commercials, print ads, online banners, radio adverts, billboard, outdoor, and so on. In the world of antivirus companies, that would mean a company like Norton/Symantec, which pours $2.8 billion into Sales and Marketing (42% of its annual revenue).
But advertising can be different! Such as providing free computer security for Salt Lake Country Library System. In total: 50 servers and 500 computers in 18 library locations. Cost? Our cost is only to provide the virus definition updates, as we do pay for the bandwidth. That is less than 2 cents per year per computer. In this example, the servers are getting the updates and they mirror them within the network for free. Total cost for AVAST: $1 per year (yes, ONE dollar).
Benefit? Well, I guess we will not be visible to all of the 600 thousands library card holders served by the 18 libraries. But I’m sure we got 1 loyal user there: Scott Condie, the library Infrastructure Manager. (To quote him: “AVAST is a great product! Works as well as any antivirus program we’ve ever used. And it doesn’t have the bloat that slows down PC performance like other products we tested.”)
Then there are the 380 employees of the library whose computers are now protected by AVAST. And of course we will be visible to some of the library visitors who use the on-site computers. Overall, not bad visibility for $1 per year. Quite likely many of them will install AVAST on their home computers once their Norton license expires. And if only one of them buys an AVAST paid-for version… our advertising investment of 1$ into the Salt Lake Country Library System has paid for itself. More than enough!
Free is GOOD
If your library license is about to expire… get one for free here: www.avast.com/education
Softonic, one of the world’s largest download site for Windows, Mac and mobile, has just announced that avast! Free Antivirus is the most popular download in Europe. Thank you to our users who have downloaded AVAST from Softonic!
Here’s what some reviews said about AVAST:
Good protection at no cost
Very good protection for a FREE product. It is very user friendly and the automatic updates were very nice to have. It is the only Free antivirus software I’ve tried, so I can’t compare it to other free software, but I really liked it.
Solid and Lightweight
PROS: One of the lightest antivirus I have ever seen. Protection is also better than many other paid_Antiviruses. It ate only 9 MB of ram in my PC. “VB 100″ or “AV Comparatives” already certified it for its solid security. Can be customized easily according to needs. Streaming fast updates. User friendly and attractive interface. Auto Sandbox facility. Cons: Doesn’t come with a firewall. Full scan is a little bit slow.
Great protection for the Home PC or Laptop user
Excellent, thank you avast! you’ve made my internet usage far more enjoyable. I no longer get annoying viruses on my computer and I was able to get rid of the ones that I had but didn’t even know.
Read Softonic’s Software Trends (PDF) report to learn more about popular downloads and trends.
Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun, and contest information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.